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Office of the Vice President

                          VICE PRESIDENT GORE

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Gore today (7/10) announced that leaders in the broadcast industry have agreed to assign new ratings to their programs.

Joining the Vice President for the announcement were Senator John McCain; U.S. Representative Edward Markey; Lois Jean White, president of the National PTA; Kathryn Montgomery, president of the Center for Media Education; John Nelson, member of the American Medical Association's Board of Trustees; and Carolyn Breedlove, professional associate of the National Education Association.

See attached statement.



Office of the Vice President


Statement by the Vice President

We're here today to make an important announcement about a new television rating system. But before I get to that, I would like say a word about another effort this Administration has undertaken on behalf of our children.

President Clinton and I have long believed that we must protect America's children from the dangers of tobacco. Last year, we were proud to announce the FDA's new rules to keep tobacco and cigarette advertisements away from young people.

Well, today R.J. Reynolds has finally agreed to stop using Joe Camel in its advertisements. We have seen, time and tragic time again, how this type of tobacco advertising lures impressionable children to begin a deadly habit few are able to quit.

As the President said last year when we announced the FDA rule to protect youth from tobacco, we must put tobacco ads like Joe Camel out of our children's reach forever. And today they did. This is a step in the right direction. But there's still more to do. And the President and I won't quit until all of the tobacco advertising and marketing targeted at young people is stopped.

Now, two years ago, at our annual family conference in Nashville, the President and I challenged Congress and the television industry. We asked them to give parents new tools to help them screen out television programs that aren't fit for their kids.

Last year, the President signed legislation and gave parents the V-Chip-- harnessing new technologies in the service of our oldest values. And immediately after that, the television industry did their part -- they came to the table and committed themselves to developing a voluntary ratings system. When that system was established, last December, we urged parents to tell us how it was working -- where it was succeeding, and where it could be improved.

Today, I am extremely pleased to announce that leaders in the television industry have worked with advocacy groups and agreed to assign new ratings to their programs.

Today, America's parents have won back their living room.

I recently met with some parent groups, and I wasn't surprised with what they told me: age-based ratings were very helpful, but not enough. Parents needed to know more. They need to know about the television images their children will see. And they need to know about the language and dialogue their children will hear.

So the new system we announce today builds on the system that the industry put in place last December by adding letter ratings -- S, V, L and D. S for sexual content. V for violence. L for coarse language. And D for mature dialogue.

This agreement will also give parents the information they need to know when cartoons or fantasy programs contain violence. While no agreement is perfect, this agreement is a major step forward. As I said a few weeks ago, it is time to put the V back in the V-chip -- and this agreement will do just that.

All sides involved took responsibility to build a better future for our children. First and most important, parents groups and child advocacy groups relayed the heartfelt concerns of America's families.

Leaders in the television industry understood that they, too, had to be good citizens -- good corporate citizens -- and protect the most impressionable in our society.

And Members of Congress showed that this is an issue that transcends party lines . . . and that we go a lot farther when we travel on common ground.

We look forward to working with parents groups, industry and Congress to ensure that this agreement is implemented in a meaningful way. And we hope that the television industry, in its entirety, will do the right thing and adopt this system.

On behalf of President Clinton, I want to thank all of those who stepped up to meet this challenge. Now, let's give the V-Chip and the ratings system a chance to work on televisions in America's homes.